The Long Shadow of Small Ghosts : Murder and Memory in an American City, by Laura Tillman
On March 11, 2003, in Brownsville, Texas - one of America’s poorest cities - John Allen Rubio and Angela Camacho murdered their three young children. The apartment building in which the brutal crimes took place was already run down, and in their aftermath a consensus developed in the community that it should be destroyed.
In 2008, journalist Laura Tillman covered the story for The Brownsville Herald. The questions it raised haunted her and set her on a six-year inquiry into the larger significance of such acts. She spoke with the lawyers who tried the case, the family’s neighbours and relatives and teachers, even one of the murderers: John Allen Rubio himself.
The result is a brilliant exploration of some of our age’s most important social issues and a beautiful, profound meditation on the truly human forces that drive them.
“This thought-provoking portrait of a murder implicates the community at large and forces the reader to grapple with the death penalty, which Rubio is sentenced to. Tillman’s book exemplifies provocative long-form journalism that does not settle for easy answers.” - Publishers Weekly
“A devastating tale of true crime and the sociology of the dirt-poor border town where it took place... Even in the horror, there are glints of hope.”- The Dallas Morning News